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Give new SAA boss a chance - Gordhan

Aug 03 2017 18:48
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said new South African Airways (SAA) chief executive Vuyani Jarana should be given three to six months to turn around the ailing airline without interference.

Speaking at The Gathering in Cape Town on Thursday, he said the appointment of Jarana was a “good start”.

“Let’s give him three to six months without interference of the wrong type,” he said.

Looking back to his role in steadying the out-of-cash state-owned entity, Gordhan said “it took us a long time to put together a new board for SAA”.

“We failed to get a new chairperson who is more experienced and effective at leading,” he said, a criticism of incumbent Dudu Myeni, who is seen as a close ally of President Jacob Zuma.

The former minister said SAA was able to stay afloat due to the credibility of the Treasury.

“Treasury officials were working on a weekly basis to ensure the liquidity was stable. The lenders who had lent R19bn at that time wanted reassurance. The credibility of Treasury carried us through on a month to month basis," said Gordhan.

“Today we are talking about easy bailouts with no Quid pro quo. A lot of questions should be asked about various things under the old board. Now, there are a lot of excellent people on the new board.”

There has been speculation that Jarana has been earmarked for the position - SAA’s first permanent chief executive officer since November 2015.

Jarana, 46, has been head of Vodacom’s enterprise division since 2012 and was previously chief operating officer at the mobile company.

He was allegedly the preferred choice of a number of board members, however Myeni had a different candidate in mind.

National Treasury said in a statement Jarana will commence his duties after his current employer has officially released him.

Jarana was praised for the transformative role he has played at Vodacom. "Mr Jarana has, among others, transformed and positioned Vodacom Business as a growth engine of Vodacom, growing its contribution to group service revenues from under 10% to 25% over three years."

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba congratulated Jarana in the statement, saying “given that Mr Jarana has turned around a loss-making subsidiary of the Vodacom Group, Vodacom Business Africa, into profitable and growth business, we believe he will be key in turning around SAA.”

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saa  |  vuyani jarana  |  pravin gordhan


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